POPULAR CUSTOM SPICE BLENDS

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Having the spices you need for a particular dish already measured and mixed can save lots of time—not to mention the frustration created from rummaging through the cupboards. Once you have tried these signature blends, you will have the confidence to mix up your own unique signature blends. Following each blend are a few suggestions, but your imagination can be the limit, for their culinary uses.

Also remember that these blends, and those also given in betweenclosefriends.com under the Favourite Food’ category for other popular custom herb and spice blends (such as Chinese 5 spice, bouquet garni, etc), make wonderful gifts for friends and family–hostess, housewarming, birthday, thank-you, etc. Simply put the blends in a decorative jar with a tight-fitting lid, then attach a ribbon and card with a few recipe suggestions. Voila! A welcomed gift for any cook—amateur to gourmet!

APPLE-PIE SPICE Makes ½ cup

½ c cinnamon 2 T ground nutmeg 2 tsp ground ginger

Add 1 tsp per pie to apple-pie filling

Stir into applesauce

Stir into crumb topping for coffeecake

Heat with apple cider. Pour through a coffee-filter-lined strainer before drinking.

Simple Spice Cookies: Sprinkle over sliced refrigerator sugar-cookie dough before baking. Or Add to your own favourite sugar cookie recipe.

CURRY BLEND makes about ½ cup. (In recipes calling for curry powder, use in the same amounts.)

2 T ground cumin 4 tsp ground coriander 4 tsp powdered mustard 2 T ground turmeric

1 tsp each: ground allspice, cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, ground ginger

Sprinkle over poultry before baking.

Season filling for deviled eggs.

FAJITA BLEND Makes a scant ½

4 T chili powder

2 T ground cumin

2 tsp ground oregano

2 tsp garlic salt

Sprinkle on flank or skirt steak, boneless chicken breasts, turkey cutlets or thin boneless pork chops before grilling, broiling or panfrying. Slice meat in strips for fajitas

]Add to meat loaf or meatball mixture.

Stir into canned refried beans while heating.

Stir into ranch dressing or salsa.

MEAT & POULTRY SEASONING makes a scant 2/3 cup

Sprinkle on steaks, chops and chicken before grilling or broiling.

MOROCCAN SPICE RUB Makes about 1/3 cup

1 T ground cumin

1 T ground coriander

1 T ground ginger

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp garlic powder

Measure all 8 ingredients into small bowl. Stir well.

An aromatic combination of spices that goes well with pork, lamb, or beef

PUMPKING-PIE SPICE makes a scant ½ cup

¼ c ground cinnamon

1 T ground ginger

2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp ground cloves

Add 1 T per pie to pumpkin-pie filling

Stir 1 tsp into 2 c applesauce.

Stir 1 tsp into 2 c of softened vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Serve over warm fruit pies or gingerbread.

SEAFOOD SPICE makes about ½ cup

2 T ground allspice

2 T celery salt

2 T powdered mustard

1 T ground ginger

1 T paprika

¾ tsp cayenne pepper

Sprinkle on fish fillets before broiling.

Season chowders, crab or salmon cakes.

Add to tuna, crab and salmon salads.

SEASONED SALT yields 1 cup of seasoning

¾ c salt

2 T paprika

1 T onion powder

1 T garlic powder

1 T pepper

1 tsp celery seed

1 tsp dry mustard

½ tsp ground marjoram

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Measure all 10 ingredients into a small bowl. Stir well.

Sprinkle over freshly popped popcorn.

Sprinkle over meats, poultry, or fish before grilling, broiling or pan-frying.

SHAKE AND BAKE MIXTURE Excellent for coating chicken, fish and wild game!

2 c flour

2 T salt

1 T celery salt

1 T pepper

2 T dry mustard

4 T paprika

1 T onion OR garlic salt

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp thyme

½ tsp basil

½ tsp oregano

Combine and mix all ingredients thoroughly. Sift to a fine even mixture and store in a tight container.

–For a crumb coating, combine 1½ -2 T of the seasoned flour with 1 cup of bread crumbs.

SUGAR-AND-SPICE BLEND Makes a scant 2/3 cup. Store in a shaker-top jar. This will go fast!

½ c granulated sugar

4 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cardamom

½ tsp ground nutmeg

Sprinkle on plain toast, French toast, waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, vanilla pudding, cut-up apples or oranges.

Sprinkle over muffins before baking and store-bought apple pie before warming.

TANDOORI SPICE makes a scant ½ cup

1 T each:garlic salt, paprika

2 T each: cayenne (ground red pepper), ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger

½ tsp ground cardamon

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Toss bite-size peeled carrots, potatoes and turnips in baking pan with a little olive oil and Tandoori Spice. Roast in a 400 degree F oven 35 to 45 minutes.

Sprinkle on fish filets before broiling;on turkey or chicken cutlets before panfrying.

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